Inspired by her great-great-grandmother's tempestuous relationship with the men in her life and absolute disregard for convention, Daphne du Maurier delivers a captivating piece, featuring one of her most audacious and ambitious heroines yet. After abandoning her drunken husband, and unwilling to return to the crippling poverty of her youth, Mary Anne begins to work as a high-class escort. Fortune favours her as she finds herself in the arms of The Duke of York and Albany, Frederick Augustus.
Becoming his mistress, Mary Anne is seduced by the Duke's lavish lifestyle and the power it bestows on her. She uses her charms and his title to trade in military commissions, venturing down a dark and seductive path which few women would have dared to go down.
Set in the Regency period, du Maurier contrasts the luxurious and lavish lifestyle of the upper echelons of society with that of the impoverished lower class. She also highlights the importance that Victorians placed on female virtue and the consequent ticking clock which Mary Anne would always be up against. Much like her ancestor, Daphne du Maurier was an intelligent, creative and resilient woman. A celebrated author and playwright who mastered the romantic and gothic genres, Daphne's masterpieces continue to entertain and intrigue us today and Mary Anne is no exception.
Carole Boyd trained at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama where her vocal talents earned her the principal national prize for voice as well as the Carleton Hobbs award. She is a British actress, best known for her performances in The Thief Lord, Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band: The Official BBC Children in Need Medley, Bodger and Badger, Virtual Murder and Hetty Wainthrop Investigates.
Carole voices the character of Lynda Snell in the BBC Radio 4 programme, The Archers as well as all of the female characters and most of the schoolboys in Postman Pat. Her audiobook narrations include The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Atonement, Jane Eyre, The Turn of the Screw and Middlemarch.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ruth on 04-07-08
Wonderfullly written and narrated
I love Daphne du Maurier's books, and this one is as wonderfully written as the rest. It's all the more interesting because it's based on the life of the author's great-great-grandmother.
The book starts with a glimpse at the end of the story, which confused me a little, but when I came back to it after I'd finished the book, it was like meeting a friend. Mary Anne's life is told, from her childhood in poor circumstances, through a disastrous marriage, and on to adulthood as she endlessly tries to make a decent living for herself and her children. The odds, however, are against her. At that time, money and everything else was controlled by men - women must rely on men's generosity, or on a good marriage.
Carole Boyd is a truly fantastic audio book reader. Her characterisation of Mary Anne is particularly good, and she reads so clearly and paces the reading so well that it is truly a pleasure to listen. A true professional, we could do with more books read by her.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Laura on 02-08-13
Good story but waffles too much in the end
I was hooked very early on to find out what happens to all the characters, but about 70% of the way through the story seems too drawn out and I lost interest. It actually became a chore to listen too and I did not finish the book - shame
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Diane on 15-07-09
daphne du maurier is great - but not her best work
I am a big Daphne Du Maurier fan - Her best work is by far My Cousin Rachel and the narrator of that one is perfect! However, it was very hard for me to get past the narrator of this book - she tries to do accents she can't do. Her voice is almost painful to listen to. The story is pretty involved though it goes through a long slow spell 3/4 through.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Beverly on 07-09-10
This is a grand tale, full of intrigue and mystery and interesting characters. Well read and enjoyable to the last word.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful